Jul, 2022

How Civil Wars Start by Barbara F. Walter

The Big Idea: Based on analysis of past civil wars (Philippines, Yugoslavia, Iraq), the author argues that right wing Americans, led by Donald Trump, and enabled by social media, are bringing the U.S. closer and closer to civil war.

Lives of the Stoics by Ryan Holiday

The Big Idea: The ancient Stoic philosophers came from almost every imaginable background: slave, emperor, water carrier, playwright, merchant, Senator, soldier. However, they all focused not on the external world but on what was solely in their own control: their thoughts, their actions, their beliefs.

1. All we control is how we respond: A crisis for someone is an opportunity for someone else.

2. Don’t do it alone. We need teachers and mentors.

3. Be the red thread. Embrace what makes you unique.

4. Keep your head. Don’t let emotions cloud your judgment.

5. Value the four cardinal virtues. Wisdom, self-control, justice, and courage.

The River of Doubt by Candice Millard

The Big Idea: Theodore Roosevelt’s expedition down an uncharted tributary of the Amazon River is a story of poor planning, but also incredible courage and grit.

Description from the author:

The River of Doubt—it is a black, uncharted tributary of the Amazon that snakes through one of the most treacherous jungles in the world. Indians armed with poison-tipped arrows haunt its shadows; piranhas glide through its waters; boulder-strewn rapids turn the river into a roiling cauldron.

After his humiliating election defeat in 1912, Roosevelt set his sights on the most punishing physical challenge he could find, the first descent of an unmapped, rapids-choked tributary of the Amazon. Together with his son Kermit and Brazil’s most famous explorer, Cândido Mariano da Silva Rondon, Roosevelt accomplished a feat so great that many at the time refused to believe it. In the process, he changed the map of the western hemisphere forever.

Along the way, Roosevelt and his men faced an unbelievable series of hardships, losing their canoes and supplies to punishing whitewater rapids, and enduring starvation, Indian attack, disease, drowning, and a murder within their own ranks. Three men died, and Roosevelt was brought to the brink of suicide. The River of Doubt brings alive these extraordinary events in a powerful nonfiction narrative thriller that happens to feature one of the most famous Americans who ever lived.